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So we had planned to post some music featuring a few of the performers for our seventh annual block party, but the weather this weekend kept us outside in the garden and away from the record shelves.

And tonight’s show at the Cedar crept up on us — it’s a tribute to Spider John Koerner,a local musician who you’ve either never heard of or have met several times. And if you’ve heard John perform and listened to one of his albums, you’re likely a fan. Looks like the show tonight is sold out, which isn’t a surprise since its scheduled to include some pretty awesome guests, including our friends Charlie Parr and Jack Klatt. Maybe you could hang around the door and they’d let you in — we’ve always thought they could squeeze a few more folks into shows there, but it’s really up to the good folks who work at the Cedar.

We have been quoted in the past as choosing John’s album with Willie Murphy, Running Jumping Standing Still, as our favorite record of all time. And it still is.

Here is “Bayou Lebatre,” the first song from Sabyre Rae’s EP Revel. Ms. Rae will be performing on the stage inside the record shop at our block party on April 22nd, along with Mike Munson, Ben Weaver and Dingus. We’ve posted set times for this stage and also the stage outside here. She first performed here several years ago as a member of Jack Klatt’s backing group, and played with him on his Mississippi Roll album.

Revel is her debut recording and you can hear another song from it on her Bandcamp page. We think her combination of country blues and swamp rock is a particularly unique sound, and we’re looking forward to hearing more recordings from her.

We’re coming up on our seventh annual block party! The folks at Record Store Day have published the list of this year’s special releases (you can see it here) and we’ll know soon which of those titles we’ll have in stock on Saturday April 22nd. If there’s a particular release you’re excited about we recommend you wait until the week of Monday April 17th to give us a call or email and see if we’ll have it. We do our best to keep the list of Record Store Day releases organized so we can help you find just what you’re looking for.

These past six Aprils we have arranged to close 39th Avenue north of Lake Street so we can host a stage with live music from 11am to 7pm. The full list of the performers at our block party is here on our “events page.” In addition, we will once again clear out or storage space and have thousands of free records for you to dig through and take home!

Every year we try to balance the well-known local artists who are friends to the record store with some artists you may not have had a chance to hear yet. We appreciate the sentiment of Record Store Day (you can find out more about the official organization on their website here) but we think the frenzy around limited-edition releases has caused it to stray from its original mission. Our goal each year is to use the opportunity afforded by all the attention to shine a spotlight on some of the local artists who have supported our shop throughout the year, as customers and as performers and as friends.

You’ll see some familiar names on our bill this year, including Charlie Parr and Black Market Brass, good friends to Hymie’s who we see here throughout the year, and who are welcomed back by popular demand after stunning sets on our 39th Avenue stage last April. Over the next couple days we’re going to post some songs by some of the other performers we’ll have here on Saturday the 22nd.

As always, we’ll encourage you to support musicians by coming out to their shows, whether they’re in libraries or farmer’s markets or small clubs or neighborhood record stores. Without them there’d be no record stores!

No record for today’s post. Instead we wanted to remind you that the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which offers weekly fresh produce pickup here at the corner of 39th and East Lake Street every week is now taking new members for the 2017 season.

Our family loves to cook and we’re always very impressed by the quality of the extra produce they sometimes share with us! You can learn more about the farm through their website here. You can also meet the farmers at our 7th annual Record Store Day Block Party (details for that are here) on April 22nd.

“The Mooche,” recorded October 20th, 1928, is one of the most enduring of the early Ellington recordings. Its growling muted trumpet and feral clarinet provide the perfect example of the era’s “jungle style,” popularized by the Duke’s already legendary orchestra.

The trumpet on this recording is performed by the tragic and short-lived Bubber Miley, whose distinctive style was carried on by future Ellington alumni such as Ray Nance and Cootie Williams.


The clarinet on this first of many recordings of “The Mooche” is performed by Barney Bigard, last noted here on the Hymies blog (with his name unfortunately misspelled) when we listened to recordings of another Ellington standard, “Caravan.” Bigard remained the lead clarinetist for the Ellington Orchestra all through the Cotton Club years, and sometimes doubled on tenor sax as well. He and Ellington wrote “Mood Indigo” together during this period.

We are thinking of this first great incarnation of the Ellington Orchestra today because our friends, the Southside Aces, will be performing a program of Duke’s small group classics on Friday night at Vieux Carré in St. Paul. We are often reminding folks that the Aces appear the second Thursday of every month at the Eagles Club #34 right here in our neighborhood, but Friday presents a unique opportunity to hear some songs by the single greatest composer our country has produced. They are rounding out the regular group with guest pianist Rick Carlson, and promising the brass will be bringing along “buckets of mutes.”

Saturday April 22nd we’ll celebrate our seventh annual Record Store Day block party here at Hymie’s and on 39th Avenue! If you have been here before on that day, you know the crowds are gigantic and the music is amazing! For the past two years the food, courtesy of our neighbors Peppers & Fries, has also been amazing! Record Store Day is a national promotional event to support independent record stores and the communities that surround them (their official website is here) — these past six years we’ve been taking the opportunity to also celebrate local musicians by hosting a stage on 39th Avenue in addition to the stage here in the shop. This year we have some of our favorite groups — and some of our favorite people — in the Twin Cities performing! Here’s the list:

Black Market Brass
The Blind Shake
Farewell Milwaukee
Reina del Cid
Mike Munson
Charlie Parr
Sabyre Rae
The Southside Aces
Ben Weaver

The list of special limited edition releases will be announced later in March. In addition we’ll let you know about some of the other things we have planned for the day in collaboration with other businesses along East Lake Street.

According to National Day Calendar, today is NATIONAL DO A GROUCH A FAVOR DAY. Of course the website, which we assume is authoritative, doesn’t offer any insight into the history of this observation. We imagine it has something to do with the most famous grouch in the world, Oscar.

We learned from Carroll Spinney in the must-see documentary I Am Big Bird that Henson, collaborator Joe Stone and he named Oscar for the tavern in New York and based the character off an exceptionally disdainful waiter. Spinney has performed the character since his first appearance (as an orange grouch!) on Sesame Street in 1969.

Oscar has performed numerous acts of kindness throughout the years, although he would never admit to them. He is known to dote on his pet worm, Slimey, and has always said the only people he can be nice to without ridicule from his fellow Grouches are human children. When Big Bird goes missing during the original Christmas Eve on Sesame Street special, Oscar goes out of his way to help find his friend. And in a more recent Muppet Family Christmas he allows Rizzo the Rat to stay in his trash can for the night. Still, his holiday song is “I Hate Christmas,” which we posted way back here.

Its been nearly a decade since Oscar’s girlfriend Grungetta derided television’s grumpiest grouches with a dig at ‘Pox news’ (“Now there is a trashy news show!”) prompting conservatives to call for a crackdown on the partly publicly-funded program. Sesame Street has long been a focus for those looking for liberal leanings in the media, an argument which hit its fever pitch two years later in Ben Shapiro’s book Primetime Propaganda. The book also broke the *shocking* story that MASH had an anti-war agenda.

If we can learn anything from the ‘Pox News’ crisis, its that we can’t learn Oscar’s politics. He plays his cards close to his chest. Besides, anyone who really understands Grouch lexicon can recognize the bit contrasting CNN (parodied as ‘GNN,’ the Grouch News Network) and Fox cast the latter in kinder light. Grouches love trashy — it’s a compliment in the same way that Michael Jackson’s “Bad” was good — but this sort of nuance is entirely lost on the sort of people who didn’t see that the larger story that day was about expressing your emotions.

By the time Sesame Street‘s 45th anniversary rolled around a few years later, the news network had forgiven the children’s program (maybe they’d been watching all along, after all) and Abby and Grover were guests on “Fox and Friends.” Oscar, always the iconoclast, was no where to be seen. Later that year he was embarrassed when shown a reel of clips showing the various times Oscar had done something to help the environment.

There’s no shortage of mean people in this world, but true Grouches like Oscar are a rare breed. If today is their special day, we hope it rains.

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